Maitreya () (1) ［弥勒菩薩］ ( Miroku-bosatsu): A bodhisattva predicted to succeed Shakyamuni as a future Buddha. Also known as Ajita, meaning invincible. In China, Maitreya was rendered as Compassionate One or Compassionate Honored One. The Sanskrit word maitreya means friendly, benevolent, affectionate, or amicable. He is said to have been reborn in the Tushita Heaven and to reside in the inner court of this heaven, where he now teaches the heavenly beings. According to the Advent of Maitreya Sutra, he is to reappear in the world 5,670 million years after Shakyamuni’s death, attain Buddhahood, and save the people in Shakyamuni’s stead. For this reason, he is also sometimes called Maitreya Buddha. Belief in Maitreya prevailed in India around the beginning of the first century and spread to China and Japan.
(2) ［弥勒］ ( Miroku): The founder of the Consciousness-Only school, thought to have been the teacher of Asanga and to have lived around 270–350 (350–430 according to another account). Various ancient works of India, China, and Tibet mention that Asanga ascended to the Tushita Heaven where he learned the Mahayana doctrines from Bodhisattva Maitreya and thereby attained enlightenment. Nevertheless, scholars have come to identify Asanga’s teacher with a historical personage named Maitreya. Asanga is thought to have inherited Maitreya’s teachings and advanced the systematization of the Consciousness-Only doctrine. Maitreya’s works include The Treatise on the Stages of Yoga Practice, The Treatise on the Discrimination of the Middleand the Extreme, and The Ornament of Mahayana Sutras.